Archive for the 'Employment-Based Immigration' Category

H1b for Entrepreneurs- New Developments Hopefully

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports on possible new developments for entrepreneurs using the H1b visa.  Read the full article here.  Thank you to the PSBJ and Emily Parkhurst for reporting on this important matter.

PSBJ 4.11.14

PSBJ 4.11.14

 

 

 

H1b FY2015 Premium Processing Receipts Have Started

After the random selection of H1b cap cases yesterday, receipts for premium processing cases have started to come through.  We just received a receipt from California Service Center via their premium processing email. Best of luck to all of you waiting anxiously! Share your story if you want to as well.

172,500 H1b cap-subject applications filed.

The USCIS announced today that 172,500 H1b visa petitions were filed for fiscal year 2015.  A random selection/lottery was conducted today April 10. See below for text from USCIS website.  Premium processing will begin April 28.  We hope to hear from USCIS with receipt notices soon! Wish you all the best with the lottery!

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap
Release Date: April 10, 2014
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 7 that it has received a sufficient number of
H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 visas for fiscal year (FY) 2015. USCIS has also received more than the limit of
20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the advanced degree exemption.
USCIS received about 172,500 H-1B petitions during the filing period which began April 1, including petitions filed for the advanced
degree exemption. On April 10, 2014, USCIS completed a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, to select enough
petitions to meet the 65,000 general-category cap and 20,000 cap under the advanced degree exemption. For cap-subject petitions
not randomly selected, USCIS will reject and return the petition with filing fees, unless it is found to be a duplicate filing.
The agency conducted the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected then
became part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.
On March 25, USCIS announced that they would begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28. For more
information on premium processing for FY 2015 cap-subject petitions, see the related USCIS Alert.
USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B
workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B
cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
• Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
• Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
• Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
• Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields
such as science, engineering, and computer programming.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit http://www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis),
YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon

May 2014 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe May 2014 Visa Bulletin was released today.  Big jump on F2B for all countries, India and China but not for Mexcio and Philippines.

Here is what my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A remains at 8 September 2013, F2B preference advanced 103 days with PD at 1 February 2007;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 December 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3  has no forward movement with PD remaining 1 October 2012.

For India only:  F2A sees no movement, F2B preference F2B preference advanced 103 days with PD at 1 February 2007;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 December 2001;

There is still no movement in EB2 preference category and EB3 finally sees some forward movement of 17 days taking us to priority date 1 October 2003.

If your priority date is current, especially in the EB3 All Countries category, congratulations! We hope you file your petition in due course!

We will report on the June 2014 visa bulletin when it is released.

Important text from the May 2014 visa bulletin below.

 D.  VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS

WORLDWIDE F2A:  From early 2013 through September 2013, the level of demand for numbers in this preference category was extremely low. As a result, the F2A cut-off date was advanced at a very rapid pace, in an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limit could be fully utilized. As readers of the Visa Bulletin were advised during that time, such cut-off date advances were not expected to continue, and at some point they could stop, or retrogression might be required.

The level of demand being experienced for FY-2014 has resulted in the Worldwide F2A cut-off date being held since October. Despite no forward movement of the cut-off date, the level of demand has continued to increase dramatically. At the current rate, such demand will require a retrogression of the F2A cut-off date within the next several months. That action would be necessary to hold number use within the annual numerical limit.

MEXICO F2A:  Despite an earlier retrogression of this cut-off date, the level of demand remains extremely heavy. As a result, it is likely that another retrogression of this cut-off date will be required to hold number use within the annual numerical limit.

H4 work authorization soon? The White House is working on it!

On April 7th, the White House made several announcements including that current regulations will be reviewed to create new rules for work permits for spouses of certain H1b workers and to make visas for entrepreneurs more efficient using existing visas.  See below for text of the White House press release from the website. While this is promising news, and certainly within the authority of the President’s powers, we will be watching this space closely. For all my H4 and Startup clients and readers- sign up to our blog if you haven’t yet.  This news will be important for you. Stay tuned!

____________________________________________________

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

FACT SHEET: Strengthening Entrepreneurship At Home and Abroad

“Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America.”

– President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 28, 2014

Entrepreneurs play a critical role in expanding the economy and creating jobs.  President Obama is committed to increasing the prevalence and success of entrepreneurs across the country, including through the White HouseStartup America initiative, an “all-hands-on-deck” effort to expand access to capital, accelerate innovation, and promote private sector efforts to strengthen the Nation’s startup communities.  The United States also runs and funds hundreds of programs to support entrepreneurs globally and maintains a broad coalition of governments, business people, civil society, investors, and academics to educate and support entrepreneurs around the world.

Building on these efforts, today the Administration is announcing a series of new steps to accelerate the success of entrepreneurs in the United States and across the globe:

Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship: Today, President Obama hosted the inaugural meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE), a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and  experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs at home and abroad. The group is chaired by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, and the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are also partners in this effort.

Attracting the World’s Best and Brightest: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon publish several proposed rules that will make the United States more attractive to talented foreign entrepreneurs and other high-skill immigrants who will contribute substantially to the U.S. economy, create jobs, and enhance American innovative competitiveness.  These proposed regulations include rules authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers. These measures build on continuing DHS efforts to streamline, eliminate inefficiency, and increase the transparency of the existing immigration system, such as by the launch ofEntrepreneur Pathways, an online resource center that gives immigrant entrepreneurs an intuitive way to navigate opportunities to start and grow a business in the United States.

Accelerating Biomedical Entrepreneurs from Lab to Market:  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are launching a new collaboration to empower entrepreneurial scientists and address the critical gap between fundamental research and the development of a commercial entity.  Academic researchers and entrepreneurs who receive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from NIH will be eligible to pilot a new version of the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program that is specially tailored for biomedical technologies.  This intensive, mentor-driven experience is changing the way that NSF-funded researchers think about the commercialization process.  NIH will also help scale up I-Corps by augmenting existing NIH-funded programs, such as the NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovation (NCAI), that focus on promising technologies developed by academic researchers.  Faculty and students who participate in these new I-Corps programs will receive mentorship opportunities, entrepreneurial training, and modest funding to enable them to move their ideas from the lab to the market.

Energizing Entrepreneurs to Help End Extreme Poverty: Fostering entrepreneurs and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems are vital elements of USAID’s newly launched U.S. Global Development Lab (The Lab).  The Lab will empower a global network of individuals to help create, solve and scale innovative solutions to global challenges by applying rigorous scientific, business, research, and technological expertise. In the next five years, scientists and technology experts at The Lab will create a new global marketplace of innovations and take them to scale to reach over 200 million people worldwide. The Lab is pioneering open-source development models like Development Innovation Ventures and Grand Challenges that nurture new solvers and players in emerging markets and spurring innovation. The Lab is expanding a Global Development Alliance furthering LGBT equality through entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprise growth in Latin America.  A new USAID Research and Innovation Fellowships Program will send more than 60 young U.S. leaders in science and technology to universities, NGOs, and companies in 12 developing countries this year.

Bolstering Exchanges and Training for Entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere: This fall, the State Department will host TechCamps for women in El Salvador, Colombia, and Argentina. These camps will bring together hundreds of women across the region over the course of the year and provide them training to address key challenges in business formation, from financing to marketing. Additionally, the State Department will be launching two new exchange programs for entrepreneurs in the Western hemisphere. The Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA) Fellowship Program will connect incubators across the hemisphere to share best practices in entrepreneurial development and unlock market access for small businesses across the region. The Professional Fellows Program will bring Salvadorian, Guatemalan, and American officials together for a six-week internship and training program focuses on professional development, problem-solving, and networking.

H1b FY 2015 Cap Met- Random Selection Coming Soon- no date yet.

USCIS announced today that the quota has been met and a random selection process to be held soon.  However, we are not told the date on which the random selection (also known as the lottery!) will be held. We also do not have information about the total number of petitions received yet. We will keep you posted. See below for text of USCIS annoucement copied from http://www.uscis.gov.

______________________________________

 

USCIS Reaches FY 2015 H-1B Cap

Release Date: April 07, 2014

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap for fiscal year (FY) 2015.  USCIS has also received more than the limit of 20,000 H-1B petitions filed under the U. S. advanced degree exemption.

Before running a random selection process, USCIS will complete initial intake for all filings received during the filing period which ended today. Due to the high number of petitions, USCIS is not yet able to announce the date on which it will conduct the random selection process.

A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps of 65,000 visas for the general category and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will reject and return filing fees for all cap-subject petitions that are not selected, unless found to be a duplicate filing.

The agency will conduct the selection process for the advanced degree exemption first. All advanced degree petitions not selected will become part of the random selection process for the 65,000 limit.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted towards the congressionally mandated FY 2015 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Facebook (/uscis), Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

 

E2 visa now available to citizens of Israel

Image courtesty of internet

Image courtesty of internet

The E2 visa, which is country specific Treaty Trader visa, was extended to citizens of Israel in 2012 by the US government. However, that needed to be approved by the Israeli government too.  On March 30, 2014, the government of Israel finally  approved the Treaty provisions and as of this week, citizens of Israel can apply for the E2 visa.

The E2 visa will give those citizens one more option to live and work in the US, while bringing much needed investment into the US with promise of more job creation.

Watson Immigration Law assists with E2 visas frequently and would be happy to help with these visas.

H1b Lottery: Puget Sound Business Journal Says It Best!

While it may be April Fool’s today, it is indeed a very serious day for American businesses trying to hire highly skilled workers.  As my clients anxiously wait to see if they will ‘win’ the lottery- never has it been clearer we need immigration reform- we need it for American businesses, we need it for economic growth- we need it for America.

Puget Sound Business Journal highlights this issue today in their headline story.  Thank you to Puget Sound Business Journal and Reporter Emily Parkhurst for covering this important issue that is affecting businesses locally and nationwide.

Image courtesy of PSBJ website.

Image courtesy of PSBJ website.

H1b FY 2015- Today is the day!

Image courtesy of the internet.

Image courtesy of the internet.

H1b applications for fiscal year 2015 will start to be accepted tomorrow, April 1st. That means, you can file today and with overnight shipping to reach USCIS tomorrow.   Regulations state that if demand is higher than availability for H1bs, then the window for acceptance will be 5 days.  As such, USCIS will keep the window open for 5 days.  Given that April 5th falls on a saturday, the last day for H1b acceptance will be April 7th.  USCIS has made an announcement to this effect.  For ease of reference, I am copying the text below.

A random selection of all petitions will be held after April 7th.  Premium processing will start on April 28th.

Good luck to everyone who is filing an H1b today and in the next few days. May you win the ‘lottery’!

_______________________________________

 

USCIS to Accept H-1B Petitions for Fiscal Year 2015 Beginning April 1, 2014

Release Date: March 25, 2014

Premium Processing for Cap-Subject Petitions to Begin by April 28, 2014 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year (FY) 2015 cap on April 1, 2014. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS receives a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely on the date that the petition is postmarked.

The congressionally mandated cap on H-1B visas for FY 2015 is 65,000. The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap.

USCIS anticipates receiving more than enough petitions to reach both caps by April 7. The agency is prepared to use a random selection process to meet the numerical limit. Non-duplicate petitions that are not selected will be rejected and returned with the filing fees.

Due to the high level of premium processing receipts anticipated, combined with the possibility that the H-1B cap will be met in the first 5 business days of the filing season, USCIS has temporarily adjusted its current premium processing practice. To facilitate the prioritized intake of cap-subject petitions requesting premium processing, USCIS will begin premium processing for H-1B cap cases no later than April 28, 2014. For more information on premium processing for FY 2015 cap-subject petitions, see the USCIS Alert.

H-1B petitioners should follow all requirements to avoid processing delays and possible requests for evidence. USCIS has detailed information, including an optional checklist, to assist in completing and submitting an FY 2015 H-1B petition. The processing worksheet is available on the USCIS website, www.uscis.gov.

U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in fields such as science, engineering and computer programming.

For more information on the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program and current Form I-129 processing times, visit the H-1B FY 2015 Cap Season Web page. Or call the National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283 or (800) 767-1833 (TDD for the hearing impaired).

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook(/uscis), and the USCIS blog The Beacon.

 

Tahmina to Speak at King County Bar Association CLE on Immigration for Startups

We are proud to announce that Tahmina will be speaking on immigration issues for Startups at a CLE by King County Bar Association titled: ADVISING STARTUPS IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA ERA – U.S. & ABROAD.  Below is a copy of the program. For anyone interested in issues related to startups, this is a great CLE to attend- whether you are a lawyer or an entreprenur. check out the full brochure here- KCBA startup visa CLE and register before they sell out!

KCBA startup visa CLE_Page_1 border

 


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